Tucked away in the Long Beach backyard of Matt Wignall sits Tackyland Studios. The space where Cold War Kids recorded and collaborated for some of their earlier hits is rustic, infused with the faint smell of palo santo and has eclectic art adorning it’s walls. Upon entering, its energy feels as vibrant and creative as its newest band, WARGIRL.
After years of producing and jamming with other bands, Wignall decided it was time to apply his well-developed skills to a new project.“I thought, ‘Well, I sleep 20 feet from a music studio. Why haven’t I done anything lately?’” Wignall says. Originally his intentions were solely to gather his musically inclined friends to create and see where it would take them. After releasing an EP and getting airplay in Germany, WARGIRL decided it was time to graduate from an “open door collective” to forming a band with consistent members.
Living dual lives, each bandmate has an interesting day job. Bassist Tamara Raye is a motorcycle racing, mechanical engineer for Disney while Enya Preston (keys) is a graphic designer and occasionally works in a lab with drummer Jeff Suri. Suri is a Ph.D. chemist who has invented technology to help people with chronic illnesses. Erick Diego Nieto (percussionist) translates textbooks and documents for learning Spanish and frontwoman Samantha Park is a jack of all trades. She juggles yoga instruction, bartending, and performing in a burlesque show, all while keeping her chakras aligned. In addition to producing, Wignall is a photographer and owns a CBD oil company with his wife.
With most of the band living near or growing up in Long Beach, they feel like the city has cultivated their musical tastes. “There’s a history of growing up here and listening to every type of music. It was super eclectic and weirder; unlike the jockey punk music, these were musicians from a scrappy working-class town” Matt says. It fosters their curiosity as there is always something new to do or go see. Outside of a set genre, each bandmate throws in their own quirks while creating new music pulling from reggae, Afro-beat, Latin, and hip-hop influences.“It’s crazy how everyone’s mind works so differently” says Park, “becoming something beautiful that no one has ever heard before”.
The busy group has found that their diverse backgrounds are what gives their band an extra breath of originality. “Coming into this band felt organic from the jump. We’re all seasoned artists who have experienced a lot of life and are all so loving and welcoming to each other” Park explains. The soulful jazz singer was the last to join after being discovered by Wignall through Instagram. Hitting the ground running WARGIRL prepared for a European tour where at one point they had to turn away over 200 people, as the line to get in wrapped the block. Chalking it up to either luck or fate the band says that they get chills thinking about all the pieces that came together for this opportunity to even happen.
For their self titled LP being released on 4/19, WARGIRL recorded in Costa Rica explaining that escaping to a different way of life helped in limiting the distractions that come from their typical day to day lives here in the states. “We wanted to make an experience for ourselves so we capture something musically that is really honestly us and hopefully that translates when you listen to it,” says Matt. The album has a spiritual jive feel with notes reminiscent of sixties go-go funk, making it impossible not to shimmy along to. Their lyrics are also impactful covering both personal matters and making a social commentary of what’s currently happening in our country.
“Musically there’s something for everyone from punk to disco to reggae on this record. We’re just trying to create something that is a positive voice in the world and hopefully people can see things flow naturally”.
WARGIRL is playing an album release show on April 20th at House of Machines in LA. For full details click here.